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March is the International Women’s Month, and to celebrate the great contributions of every woman, most especially the Filipinas, Go Negosyo is once again holding a summit dedicated for them.
On its 7th run tomorrow, Go Negosyo will hold its Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit at the World Trade Center, which is co-chaired by Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp.’s Alice Eduardo. We are once again preparing a rich program to inspire the participants with stories of successful Pinays and entrepreneurs who are champions in their own fields.
Aside from the Filipina speakers, who we featured last week, we are recognizing the new batch of inspiring Filipina entrepreneurs and their capacity to be catalysts of change and progress. After months of search for the deserving awardees, we will award 13 Filipina entrepreneurs and lead advocates who are passionate and determined to uplift their lives and the lives of their community through their enterprises and businesses.
Let me share with you their inspiring stories.
• Myrna Bituin started Betis Crafts Inc. with her husband, Jose. Through their company, the art and craft of woodcarving continues to flourish in Pampanga, making the province known for its quality furniture. Despite starting very small and the many challenges that faced them, Myrna’s persistence and leadership pushed the company to greater heights. Today, the company is one of the leading exporters of fine furniture creations.
• Thru Ovation Productions, led by Celinda De Guia and her husband Renen, many Filipinos seen and experienced world-class concerts and theatre plays. Ovation produces or directly buys, and promotes its concerts. They have handled more than 60 international artists and Broadway musicals like the recent Beauty and the Beast of Disney shows.
• After receiving her 18th birthday monetary gifts, Roxanne Farillas started her own company. She heads Plains and Prints, one of the popular brands in Philippine fashion industry. She knew even during her college years, she wanted to be an entrepreneur. After many years, Plains and Prints has produced quality and affordable clothes for many fashionistas in the country.
• Kathleen Go is the managing director of Universal Records, one of the country’s largest recording labels. Universal Records has been in the industry since 1970s, producing records for many Filipino artists in the country. Kathleen continues to bring the company further, focusing mainly in showcasing Filipino talents and artists.
• Recognizing one of the country’s problems particularly an impending energy-crisis, Emma Imperial thought that through a housing development, she could help solve the problem. The Imperial Homes Corp. provides low-cost, solar-powered, and energy efficient housing. The company continues to expand under her leadership, developing more mass housing projects in different provinces.
• Mary Lizabeth Lu, or as friends and colleagues call her, Ria, is the president and CEO of Komikasi Games and Entertainment Inc. They provide the market with award-winning advergames. They design and develop mobile and web games for different clients. Today, they have a roster of clients from local industries and abroad.
• Rizalina Mantaring leads Sun Life Financial Philippines. For 120 years, Sun Life is one of the reliable insurance partners of many Filipinos and institutions. Aside from being the president and CEO of Sun Life Financial, she also heads the foundation of the company, providing help and service to the fields of education, culture, healthcare and disaster recovery.
• A proud snacks lover, Josephine See transformed ordinary Filipino nuts by upgrading and repackaging, them and creating JM Peanut World. Aside from providing different varieties of nuts to Filipinos, her enterprise is also one of the sought after franchises in the country. Today, JM Peanut World is seen in many malls around the country.
• Another entrepreneur from the retail industry is Stella Sy who owns and manages her brand, Mint. Mint provides the public with quality apparel that caters to the fashion taste of both men and women. Today, the brand has received numerous recognitions in the retail industry.
• Known for her modern approach to the classy and traditional Filipiniana, Patis Tesoro continues to produce many world-class pieces in her acclaimed clothing line. She continues to help others by employing them as handweavers and craftsmen for the company’s crafts and products.
As the Bangus Queen of Dagupan, Fe Vidal leads her CBN Boneless Bangus Co. in providing high-quality bangus products in the market. After working as an OFW in the Middle East, she returned home to start her entrepreneurial journey. Today, she helps the community by purchasing their catch for the day and transforming these into high-value bangus products.
A special award will be given to Nanette Medved-Po and Menchie De Guzman who are both involved in their respective social enterprises. Nanette Po is the founder of Friends of Hope which established the Hope in a Bottle Project, providing classrooms in for public school students in different areas in the country. Menchie De Guzman has an innate interest and passion for crocheted products that is why she helped the mothers of Bauang, La Union to make a living out of it.
• We are also recognizing two of the most inspiring entrepreneurs in the field of education: Socorro Ramos and Esther Vibal. These two dynamic ladies have made valuable contributions to the economy and education. Socorro Ramos is the matriarch of the country’s largest book store chain, National Book Store. At the age of 92, she still influences the major directions for the company. On the other hand, Esther Vibal of the reputable Vibal Publishing Group, has provided students with affordable and quality textbooks and other educational materials. Both of them have become an institution, both in entrepreneurship and education.
In the end, we wish to provide Filipinas with inspiring role models and bring hope and knowhow them to be able to dream, to believe and to achieve. Endless source of motivation and information are around us. So we encourage everyone, especially the Filipinas to take advantage of, and be inspired and learn from the summit we will bring tomorrow. See you there!